Meet Your Oral Microbiome
TURNS OUT, IT PLAYS A CRUCIAL COMPONENT IN YOUR HEAD-TO-TOE HEALTH
At Sakara, we’re all about nourishing the gut microbiome—the collection of microbes that influence everything from digestion to mental health. By now, you may be familiar with it, too. But did you know: microbes reside beyond just your gut, and a unique microbiome can be found in your eyes, skin, vagina, and, yes, even your smile.
A cutting-edge field of research has started to explore the oral microbiome as a crucial component of our health, related to both oral and systemic diseases. But what is the oral microbiome exactly? It refers to the collective genome of microorganisms that reside in the oral cavity (AKA everything your dentist sees when you open wide with an “ah”), and, after the gut, it’s the second largest microbial community in humans.
“This is a living, breathing organ system in your mouth,” said Dr. Gerry Curtola, dentist, author, and co-inventor of the world's first prebiotic naturopathic toothpaste, Revitin, on a recent episode of The Sakara Life Podcast. “You don't want to denature it, disturb it, or kill it.”
The oral microbiome plays a role in various functions of our bodies, from digestion, immune modulation, and metabolic regulation, to the processing and detoxification of environmental chemicals. Similar to how the gut microbiome can influence our well-being, the oral microbiome’s state impacts our overall health. When our oral microbiome is balanced, we smile wide with healthy gums, strong teeth, and good breath. When it’s off balance (known as oral dysbiosis), we can experience ailments such as gingivitis, oral ulcers or oral candidiasis, dental caries, and bad breath. Not to mention, an imbalanced microbiome can also propel systemic health issues by making it easier for pathogens to manifest and cause disease, which can then affect heart and brain health, one’s risk of developing diabetes, and blood glucose levels.
Ways to Restore Your Oral Microbiome
The mouth-body connection, referring to the impact that your oral health can have on your total-body health, is important to understand when it comes to optimizing your well-being, so we’ve compiled a few ways to nourish it:
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush and floss daily to remove plaque and optimize oral microbiome balance, avoiding harmful oral care products.
- Use mouthwash sparingly. Mouthwash is designed to kill bacteria in your mouth but, similar to how antibiotics get rid of beneficial gut bacteria, this includes beneficial oral bacteria. Frequent use of mouthwash can disrupt the balance of your oral microbiome and impact your overall health.
- Eat a balanced diet. As with our gut, some foods allow beneficial bacteria to thrive, while others promote the growth of pathogens and unfriendly bacteria. Incorporate green leafy vegetables, cruciferous veggies, healthy fats, and prebiotic foods (like onions, leeks, dandelion greens, and garlic) daily; try to limit your intake of overly sugary, highly processed, and refined foods and beverages.
- Take high-quality probiotics. Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that can positively influence the oral microbiome by building a diverse space for them to thrive, specifically L. salivarius, L. brevis, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. casei, and S. thermophilus (all conveniently found in our Complete Probiotic Formula).
Want to learn more about the influence of your oral microbiome on your health? Tune in to The Sakara Life Podcast with Dr. Gerry Curtola.